local_library Escape to Recollection

by Ryan David Leack

Published in Issue No. 167 ~ April, 2011

Almost two years have passed since then.

My manager Kathy and I escape

Into the office while the other sales associates

Service frantic teenagers and housewives.

We split a granola bar as we sit across

From each other at the metal desk.

“I’m not doing anything tonight,”

She says, dropping her nametag to the floor.

We toss our radios on the desk

So no one will interrupt the frequent bites

Of the granola bar that’s passed back

And forth between rapid dialogue.

“So?” she says. A smile curls up

On her face as the light bulb above

Shines on her back and casts a shadow

Across her sweet expressions.

Her eyes squint and look up at me

As her long black hair drapes over

Her shoulders. “So what?” I ask.

“How much more time will we waste?”

“We close tonight, don’t we?”

She sits back in her chair and twirls

Her hair around her fingertips.

“What was it like growing up in Korea?”

She looks to me as words

Quietly gather behind her lips.

“The toilets are disgusting.”

“Yeah, so I’ve heard.”

She finishes the granola bar and drops

The wrapper in the trash.

I lean back in the cold steel chair

And watch the time. “Three more hours,”

I tell her.

She glances at the clock

And returns her eyes to me.

“This is fun,” she whispers.

With our radios off we slouch

In the folding chairs, smile within

Fractions of false light, laugh like

Children in a tree house,

Pass time that never ends . . .

account_box More About

Professor and poet Ryan David Leack is the author of several collections of poetry, including Faces in the Mirror (2008) and Remember the Planes (2010). He teaches rhetoric, composition, and literature at Cal Poly Pomona, and has published in journals such as RipRap, The Cave, and Pomona Valley Review, which he now edits. He lives a quiet life with his wife in Pomona seeking some kind of Thoreauvian tranquility and harmony with words.